Mike keeps muttering “brrrr,” like he’s shivering from the cold, but we’re having a typically hot August around here. No, it’s “burr” that he mutters, as he bends down to pluck another sticky, round kernel out of my fur or sometimes his own heel. These “burrs” get into my fur around my mouth, in my beard, on my chest and belly, on the underside of my ears and sometimes even inside my nose. My feet get so tangled that Mike can spend a good half hour picking them off of me before dinner. If he doesn’t do this, I will spend many slobbering hours trying to do it myself.
I’m hungry, so to speed things along, mostly I let Mike do his plucking, because he’s really more skilled and efficient at getting the burrs off than my own teeth are. And some of the them stick to places that my mouth can’t get to. My “help” for Mike consists of being relatively calm and compliant, at least until the moments Mike tugs so hard on my fur that it hurts. That’s when I let out an awful, high-pitched squeal that is no doubt my legacy from my mom, named Banshee. What a noise! You’d think Mike had stabbed me repeatedly with a serrated knife (I may have been watching too many TV cop shows with Heather).
After repeated field observation sessions, Mike determined that these tiny implements of aggravation are seeds from the weed geraniums that populate the woodlands in the park (and occasionally in our yard, until Mike pulls them). When the geranium’s flower petals drop, a pod remains that eventually opens to reveal a roughly 1/16th-inch-diameter seed. Its skin is rough and sticky, and a wirehair dachshund’s torso is low-lying fruit, providing the perfect escape vehicle for these jagged little pills. Whenever I tear into the under story, chasing a squirrel or” burr-owing” into the weeds after a ball, running into these geranium seeds is unavoidable. They come in bunches. And no matter how many of the little suckers Mike manages to pry off me before dinner, a few invariably remain, happy to stick on me for a day or two, until they dry out and eventually fall to the floor in any room of the house. There they lie in ambush for the bottom of Mike’s unsuspecting bare feet. It’s like stepping on a sharp stone, Mike screams. Ouch.
The geranium burr season is now at full swing, but the best score Mike has counted so far is a measly 28 burrs in a single day. That just scratches the surface, so to speak. With hot weather holding and no rain in the forecast, our forest floor is about to get even drier, so I’m confident I can pick up enough of these geranium burrs to make it really “un-burr-able” for Mike in the near future.